The paradox of chiseling away at your goals.

50 days ago, I wrote a post which led to a project called The 100 Day Mission.

It was a call to arms to make the most out of the final 100 days of 2017, born of a personal pain. I looked back at the progress I’d made on my goals for the year, terribly disheartened. Then I remembered: we still have 100 days!

130 people joined me and together we each committed to a personal mission to finish 2017 strong. Some people set 100 individual tasks (i.e. 100 nature drawings), others decided on a singular goal.

Example 100 Day Missions

Each week I send a weekly email “nudge to keep going” — an inspiring idea, talk, quote or message to help keep us moving forward, as well as share everyone’s small and big wins over the week.

Over the last 7 weeks, I’ve noticed a great paradox in this 100 Day Mission. Or with any goal worth pursuing.

On one hand, it’s all about the tiny, easy steps.

The tiny steps are like a long, flat, boring walk. You step one foot after the other. You don’t notice much progress until a mile or so down the road, you look back and see how far you’ve traveled. Mundane in the present, rewarding after time.

On the other hand, it’s all about the big, uncomfortable steps.

Sometimes that big, uncomfortable step is the very first one. Adventurer Al Humphreys calls it “the doorstep mile” — the first and hardest step of his round-the-world cycle:

“ warm summer morning, after a long sleep in my nice, soft bed and a large cooked breakfast, to climb onto my bicycle and pedal away from my front door.”

I like to think of the big, uncomfortable step as that thing you’ve been putting off.

Blogging offers a good example. The tiny steps are the writing of the words, meticulously and carefully, day after day, until finally you hit publish and sigh: It’s done! Yet the big, uncomfortable step remains: telling people about the article you just published.

Other big uncomfortable steps include: Reaching out to someone. Reaching out for help. Asking for advice. Asking for the sale. Delivering and sharing your creation.

Why do we put it off? Well, that person might ignore you, could reject you, or even worse — may actually say “Yes” to whatever it is you’re asking.

It’s scary shit, the uncomfortable step. Because it can change everything.

And here’s the paradox: our goals require both the tiny easy step and uncomfortable big step. And the hard part, like all paradoxes, it hurts to hold both simultaneously. They seem different parts of our brain and spirit.

So today, whenever you’re reading this, I’ll pose a challenge: pick one.

Option 1: Do the tiniest of tiny steps today.

What’s tinier than tiny? Luke shared a good example with me last week:

“The other night I was at a concert and I pulled out my field notes pad and jotted down an idea I had. Working on it every day has gotten me thinking about it every day.”

So tiny you might not even consider it a step.


Option 2: Do the big, uncomfortable step.

Do that thing you’ve been avoiding. That action that reaches out and touches the world. Engage with someone. Ask for something. Put yourself out there. Cross that doorstep mile before you.

Here’s mine.

What’s yours?

***Join me and 99 others on the next 100 Day Mission: Sign up here.

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